Australia in SA

Proteas to ‘manage’ Lopsy

2014-02-17 22:36
Lonwabo Tsotsobe (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The South African brains trust have admitted that Lonwabo Tsotsobe may tread a slightly precarious tightrope at the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh next month, after including him in the squad revealed on Monday.

The unusually tall left-arm seamer, not the most natural of athletes, is nevertheless an important element of the Proteas’ mix in both the T20 and one-day international formats, where he has a reputation for being very effective up front and is a good foil for either of Dale Steyn or Morne Morkel at the helm of the seam attack given the angular variety he provides.

But his career has also been interrupted at times by a variety of injuries – ankle, knee and back among them – and selection chief Andrew Hudson admitted to Sport24 at the Centurion Test match a few days ago that a minor cloud continues to surround him in that regard.

“He’s got the sort of (niggles) that can possibly flare up so he will have to be managed through the tournament,” Hudson said.

“We hope for all our sake that he can be (fully fit) in Bangladesh, though ... it is sort of four overs, then a couple of days off, four overs then another two, in terms of the itinerary.

“It’s intense, but it is also not quite like having to bowl 10-over stints often, as happens in ODIs.”

Clearly South Africa’s physiotherapy staff will have to monitor the 29-year-old closely.

With Dale Steyn, (6.20 runs to the over), Tsotsobe (6.26) is the most economical of the Proteas’ established pacemen in the T20 international format, and sometimes makes key early strikes even if his later spells in the 50-overs code tend to be more expensive.

Port Elizabeth-born Tsotsobe did alleviate many fears about his fitness by grabbing figures of two for 40 and then five for 33 for the Lions in the generally low-scoring Sunfoil Series match against the Cape Cobras at Newlands over the last few days – an encouraging return soon after a month’s layoff.

He gets the chance to fine-tune, fitness-wise, in the three-match T20 series against Australia that precedes the Proteas’ departure for Bangladesh.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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